NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The government has issued the latest emergency orders outlining a range of eased restrictions, including the removal of the need to obtain a negative COVID-19 test when traveling from Grand Bahama.
The order delineates varying restrictions for the islands of The Bahamas and businesses, grouped under three schedules.
It maintains countrywide guidelines on mask-wearing, social distancing, and sanitizing, and for every person who leaves their residence to carry government-issued identification.
The order provides for inter-island travel for all islands.
Every person traveling is required to obtain a travel visa that should be presented to the carrier agent at the point of embarkation and quarantine for 14-days or for the duration of stay, if for a lesser period.
However, a person traveling from New Providence will be required to provide a negative RTPCR COVID-19 test and apply for a travel visa.
Individuals traveling from the Family Islands are not required to obtain a negative COVID-19 test to travel to New Providence but will have to follow the protocol when departing the capital.
Additionally, children 10-years-old or younger is not required to undergo a COVD test but will have to submit to a 14-day quarantine.
Inter-island commercial flights are permitted to operate throughout The Bahamas starting September 9.
Islands listed in the first schedule include Chub Cay, Harbour Island, Long Cay, Long Island, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador and Spanish Wells.
The orders provide for churches; schools; home schools and preschools to operate providing sanitization, mask-wearing and social distancing is maintained.
No more than five students may attend a home school unless authorized.
Salons barbershop and other cosmetologists may operate provided that one patron per service provider remains in the establishment.
Restaurants may offer inside and outside dining at 50 percent capacity.
Social gathering shall be allowed with a maximum of 20 people at a private residence or facility.
Weddings, receptions, funerals, burials and repasts will also be allowed with guidelines.
Beaches and parks will also be opened on these islands.
New Providence, Paradise Island, Acklins, Abaco, Andros, the Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Crooked Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Grand Bahama, Inagua, and Mayaguana comprise islands in the second schedule.
On these islands, a curfew will remain in effect between 10pm and 5am, with exceptions permitted by the commissioner of police.
For all islands except New Providence, all businesses, agencies, establishments and institutions, including salons and barbershops, are permitted to operate providing sanitization, mask-wearing and social distancing is maintained.
A laundromat is permitted to operate under 50 percent capacity, a control person at each entrance ensuring sanitization on entry and no congregation of an individual inside our outside of the laundromat.
For New Providence, all businesses and offices may continue their business operations by allowing their employees to work remotely from home.
Where a business is unable to have employees work remotely from home, or operate in accordance with the order that business should cease its operations.
Individuals employed within the public services on New Providence, who are not designated as essential workers by the permanent secretary of their ministry, are also required to work from home.
Grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, hardware stores and water depots may operate between 6am and 9pm.
Private medical and dental facilities may operate daily between 5am and 10pm.
Commercial banks or credit unions may operate Monday through Friday between 8am and 5pm, while money transmission services may operate from 9am to 5pm.
International banks and trusts are allowed to operate weekdays between 9am to 5pm, provided that the office is not opened more than eight hours in any working day with 10 essential employees.
A law firm is also able to operate during the same period, provided not more than two partners together with not more than 15 other employees in attendance.
Pool maintenance and landscape services will be allowed between 7am and 5pm.
Retail bakeries, water and ice production shall be permitted between 7am and 5pm.
The orders provide for news vendors to operate between 7am and 1pm, and laundromats between 6am and 9pm provided they operate at 50 percent occupancy.
Retail stores selling clothing, jewelry, shoes or fabric can operate Monday through Saturday between 7am and 6pm and other retail businesses are required to operate utilizing curbside or deliver service.
Beauty salons and barbershops are permitted to operate under outlined restrictions.
Gaming house operators, wholesalers, and manufacturers may also operate using curbside, online, or delivery services.
Wholesalers, manufacturers and plant nurseries are permitted to operate daily.
Home visits conducted by a healthcare worker to members of the general public for the purpose of providing medical or therapeutic care is also permitted.
A casino, bar disco, cinema, museum, library, historical society, spas, gyms, straw market vendors, festivals, regattas, and a range of other entertainment businesses and services remain prohibited.
Worship services are to be conducted in accordance with protocols established by the Bahamas Christian Council.
On the islands in the second schedule, no person is permitted to visit any place of quarantine or isolation which includes a government identified quarantine facility, a patient in a hospital care establishment or facility, or a detainee in a correctional facility.
Schools shall be permitted to operate virtually provided that the teacher works from the school’s campus.
Preschools, and home school programs with no more than five students, may all operate with all health guidelines including mask-wearing and sanitization protocols.
Meanwhile, weddings and graveside services may be held with 10 people, excluding officiants.
Hotels may operate on islands in the second schedule provided that a guest under quarantine is not permitted to leave the premises and indoor dining, casinos, discos, gyms and spas are prohibited
Restaurants may operate with curbside service, pickup, delivery, takeaway and drive-thru between 5am and 9pm, and can offer outdoor dining at 50 percent capacity with social distancing.
Indoor dining in New providence is prohibited.
Restaurants or food vendors at Fish Fry locations in Grand Bahama and vendors at Fish Fry and Potters Cay are allowed to operate between 5am to 9pm using curbside service, pickup, or delivery.
While social gatherings at a private residence or facility for up to 10 people are allowed on the Family Islands, the same will not be permitted in New Providence.
The orders provide for fishing two no more than two people between 5am and 6pm; commercial fishing and harvesting certain marine life.
Beaches and parks in Grand Bahama and New Providence will be opened daily between 5am and noon, provided groups do not exceed five people.
Individuals may exercise in their neighborhoods between 5am and 10pm and in their yard at any time.
People are also permitted to exercise in a group outdoors between 5am and noon.
As it relates to public transportation, taxi service, private and public bus services may operate at 50 percent occupancy.
Construction will be permitted Monday through Friday between 7am and 5pm; and on Saturdays between 7am and 1pm.
According to the orders, businesses resuming operations via delivery should utilize gloves, the delivery person shall contact the customer to announce delivery fo the goods and ensure no person-to-person contact by leaving the delivery outside the door with the driver waiting a distance away.
The orders also speak to businesses resuming curbside pickup with customers paying via electronic or digital platforms, orders being fulfilled by essential staff, and staff wearing personal protective equipment.